With respect to Juwan Howard and the University of Michigan
men’s basketball team, the second- and third-best upsets of the
Men’s NCAA Tournament in the Round of 32 — after Saint Peter’s
stunning Murray State — came at the hands of the No. 10 Miami
Hurricanes and No. 11 Iowa State Cyclones.
In the Midwest Regional, we already saw a classic 12/5 upset in
the opening round, featuring Atlantic-10 champion Richmond
outlasting Big Ten champion Iowa 67-63 on Thursday. Miami got by
USC 68-66 in a 10/7 win on Friday, as did 11-seeded Iowa State in
beating No. 6 LSU in a 59-54 victory.
But on Sunday after, Iowa State shut down the third-seeded
University of Wisconsin Badgers in Milwaukee 54-49. The
stunner was followed by Miami blowing out No. 2 Auburn and expected
top-three NBA Draft pick Jabari Smith 79-61 later that evening.
This sets the stage for a seemingly improbable Sweet 16 matchup
between two double-digit seeds, which has only happened four other
times in the tournament’s history.
In 1997, No. 10 seed Providence — led by God Shammgod — beat No.
14 Chattanooga 71-65, or as the Washington Post put it, “GOT HELP FROM GOD.” Other
notable players on Providence then? Longtime Indiana Pacer forward
Austin Croshere and subsequent Big East scoring champion Jamel
Thomas. You may also remember the latter from Through The Fire, the Sebastian Telfair documentary
In 2011, No. 11 VCU outlasted No. 10 Florida State 72-71 in
overtime, and subsequently defeated No. 1 Kansas 71-61 in the Elite
Eight to reach the Final Four that year.
In 2014, No. 11 Dayton defeated No. 10 Stanford 82-72, led by 18
points from current NBA G League guard Jordan Sibert.
Lastly, and most recently in 2016, No. 10 Syracuse slipped by
No. 11 Gonzaga with a 63-60 victory. Guided by first-round picks
Malachi Richardson (2016) and Tyler Lydon (2017) — along with 2016
second-rounder Michael Gbinije — the Orange claimed victory over
No.1 Virginia in the Elite Eight.
Both VCU and Syracuse lost in the national semifinals in 2011
and 2016, respectively.
(Back when putting mainstream music in highlights was
Additionally, there have been 15 double-digit-seeded teams to
crack the Elite Eight, according to the NCAA
Tournament's Wiki. (Oh, come on. I don’t use them for much, but
don’t act like they didn’t get you through college, too!)
This Miami-Iowa State matchup obviously guarantees that at least
one double-digit seed will advance to the Elite Eight.
This Miami team has experienced some distinct highs of any squad
left in the tournament this season, considering its standing as a
No. 10 seed. After an inconsistent 4-3 start to their season, the
Hurricanes won nine straight games from Dec. 1 through Jan. 8,
highlighted by a win over then-second-ranked Duke at Cameron
Indoor, 76-74, capping a 5-0 start to ACC play.
Additionally, they Kimbo Sliced the North Carolina Tar Heels in
the face 10 days later with an 85-57 victory, which was sandwiched
in between two one-point losses to Florida State, who isn’t in any
postseason this year. Again, inconsistency from The U.
Most notably, the Canes have one of the oldest teams in all of
Division I. Due to COVID's effect on college sports seasons, Miami
players were subsequently offered an extra year of eligibility
without consequence, and have taken advantage of it. The Canes have
an average age of 21.38, making them the oldest bunch in the
ACC and ninth in all of Division I. Kameron McGusty, Charlie
Moore and Sam Waardenberg are 3 of Miami’s 5 leading scorers, and
all of them are sixth-year seniors.
Though McGusty leads the Canes in scoring with 17.5 points per
game — and was the team’s lone All-ACC First-Team selection —
junior guard Isaiah Wong has been the team’s breakout star in the
who entered the 2021 NBA Draft before returning to school,
dropped 22 points on 7 of 12 shooting against USC; he followed it
up with 21 points on 8 of 18 shooting in the win over Auburn while
also pulling down 6 rebounds. Between the two games, the 2022
All-ACC Third-Teamer has made 13 of his 14 attempts from the
Iowa State is 304th in points per game, but 20th in fewest
points allowed. So, if the Cyclones have their way, they’ll be
looking to ground the Canes, who are 77th in points and 35th in
Offensive Rating out of 358 D-I programs. The Cyclones were ranked
as high as No. 8 earlier this season, and were in the top-25 for
nine straight weeks from December through February — largely thanks
to a 12-0 start. Iowa State's big wins this season included upsets
over No. 25 Xavier and No. 9 Memphis in November, both while
Former Penn State and St. Bonaventure guard Izaiah Brockington
arrived to Iowa State following last season, and won Big 12
Newcomer of the Year and All-Big 12 First Team for his efforts. The
6-foot-4, 200-pound Brockington is the Cyclones' leading scorer and
rebounder at 17.1 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest. The 6-foot
freshman Tyrese Hunter became a constant presence in the Iowa State
backcourt, averaging 10.9 points and 4.9 assists en route to Big 12
Rookie of the Year honors.
Hunter and Brockington combined for 42 of the Cyclones' 59
points in Round 1.
Additionally, the Cyclones have senior guard Gabe Kalscheur, who
is averaging 9.5 points per game this season. Kalscheur exploded
for 22 points on 10 of 19 shooting in ISU's win over Wisconsin.
The winner between Miami and Iowa State on Friday night will
face the winner of Kansas and Providence this coming Sunday night,
which could potentially give us yet another double-digit seed in
the Final Four.
We'll see if one of these teams can continue an improbable run
through the weekend.
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